A LIFEBOAT volunteer has told how he swam between two boats to rescue stricken colleagues as crews battled to save a man and his dog trapped by the incoming tide.

Greg Young swam about 40 metres in rough seas to attach a rope to a boat that had started taking in water after hitting submerged rocks.

The rescue operation began after a man from Nottingham became stranded while walking his Scottish terrier on the beach at the base of the cliffs at Saltburn, east Cleveland, Saturday lunchtime.

A woman raised the alarm after she received a call from her stranded friend.

Volunteer helmsman Andy Beevis described the situation the RNLI crew faced.

He said: “The location of the man and his dog presented us with an extremely difficult rescue.

“There were huge submerged boulders just under the surface. While we were holding the lifeboat steady, ready to evacuate the man from the shore, the waves lifted it onto the rocks a couple of times, damaging its hull.

“Once the man was aboard we decided it was too risky to use the engine, in case we damaged the propeller on the rocks, so a crew member from our other lifeboat swam in with a line and we used that to pull the lifeboat clear of the rocks.”

Despite the rough seas, Mr Young, 23, of Canterbury Road, Redcar, said he jumped in without thinking about the danger.

“When there’s four mates in a bit of a situation you’ve got to help them,” he said.

“You train and train for this kind of situation.

I got the chance to put that training to the test, and we all went out and we all came home safely.”

The lifeboat volunteers put the man and the dog ashore at Saltburn into the care of coastguard officers.

He was taken to the Ship Inn where he changed into dry clothing, but did not need medical treatment.

The damaged lifeboat was able to return to Redcar under its own power.

None of the crew were injured during the rescue.

Dave Cocks, from Redcar RNLI, said: “All of the damage is repairable, and we’ll have a relief lifeboat on station within the next 12 hours while our lifeboat goes away to be fixed.”